The concept of masculinity is explored and deconstructed in this new Netflix feature, set where the prairies meet the Rocky Mountains.
“Power of the Dog,” directed by Jane Campion, takes place during the 1920s in Montana. Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Phil Burbank in the film, a tough cattle rancher with a rough personality.
While Phil seems mystified by the life of a rancher in the western side of the nation, his brother George (Jesse Plemons) is less fascinated by the cowboy career and has ambitions of settling down. He does just that when he meets and later marries a restaurant owner named Rose (Kirsten Dunst). The film then follows how Phil often finds himself at odds with the rest of his family.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Power of the Dog’ is a well crafted character study that digs deep”
The legacy of late composer Jonathan Larson is honored in this new Netflix feature, based on his own autobiographical musical, “Tick, Tick… Boom.”
Andrew Garfield stars as Larson in the movie, directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda. The film has a framing device of Larson of performing “Tick, Tick… Boom” as a one man show, where he tells the story of himself in 1990, struggling to get a new production off the ground.
That production is “Superbia,” and the story Larson tells includes details about how he worked at a small diner, his strained relationships because of his focus on his work and how he grieved for friends he lost to the AIDS epidemic.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Tick, Tick… Boom’ is an enjoyable, touching tribute”
“Encanto” invites audiences to spend time at a home where residents have various super powers.
It’s like a less intense version of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters.
Mirabel (Stephanie Beatriz) is the main character in “Encanto,” and also happens to be the one member of her family without powers, making her the odd one out. For generations, her family has been gifted with powers, allowing them to create a safe, comfortable community in Columbia.
In most cases, Mirabel is overshadowed in her family, especially by her older sisters Luisa (Jessica Darrow) and Isabela (Diane Guerrero). However, she uncovers an issue with the source of her family’s magic and becomes the one person determined to set things right, even without powers.
Continue reading “REVIEW: Disney’s ‘Encanto’ is mostly average”
Al Pacino hasn’t been in a family this intense since the Corleones.
“House of Gucci” follows the famous fashion family from the late 70s until the dynasty fell apart in the mid-90s. The movie’s main focus is on Patrizia (Lady Gaga), a woman who in 1978 met and married one of the Gucci heirs, Maurizio (Adam Driver).
From there, the movie follows how the two maneuvered to gain more power in the family. Their efforts to do so put them in conflict with other members of the family, and eventually, each other.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘House of Gucci’ grabs a viewers’ attention, despite flaws”
I’d rather watch “Jingle All the Way.”
Pam (Ellie Kemper) and Jeff (Rob Delaney) are a married couple facing some adversity during the Christmas season. Jeff is between jobs and it means they may have to sell their house, a home they both love. Their financial issues have a potential solution, though, as they have an antique which could sell for a lot of money.
However, during a chance encounter, they believe the antique fell into the hands of a kid named Max (Archie Yates). Around the same time, it turns out Max has been left home alone, with his family leaving for vacation. While it seems great at first, Max becomes worried when Pam and Jeff start snooping around, as the couple has hopes to get the antique back.
Continue reading “REVIEW: There’s nothing sweet about ‘Home Sweet Home Alone’”
The Prince of Bel-Air has ascended to a higher monarch level, now having the title of king.
Will Smith is Richard Williams in this new sports drama, the father of tennis greats Venus (Saniyya Sidney) and Serena Williams (Demi Singleton) who had the nickname of King Richard in Compton, Calif. The film begins with Richard helping his daughters with tennis practices, and making an effort to find them a professional coach, as he knows their potential.
From there, the movie follows how Richard worked to advance his daughters’ talents, while also halting their careers from advancing too fast. The movie also explores how Richard got along with Venus’ coaches and his marriage with Oracene Williams (Aunjanue Ellis).
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘King Richard’ can please crowds but could have been more”
Unlike the 2016 “Ghostbusters,” which was a reboot, this latest film serves as a direct sequel, set decades after the events of the 1989 picture.
The movie introduces viewers to Callie (Carrie Coon), the daughter of Dr. Egon Spengler, and her two children, Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) and Trevor (Finn Wolfhard). At the movie’s outset, Dr. Spengler passes away and the death notice is sent to Callie. After the update, Callie and her kids travel to rural Oklahoma, where Spengler left a farmstead to his family.
Upon arrival, Callie and Trevor are mostly unimpressed by the small town and rundown house. However, Phoebe, who’s interested in science, begins finding Ghostbuster equipment and her interest is piqued even more as there are several abnormal earthquakes in the area. To investigate what’s going on, Phoebe teams up with one of her classmates, who simply goes by “Podcast” because he produces one (Logan Kim).
Continue reading “REVIEW: Lead performance and fun adventure push ‘Afterlife’ above average”
Rock Chalk meets French culture in this new film from Wes Anderson.
“The French Dispatch” refers to an insert section for the Evening Sun newspaper in Liberty, Kansas. In the movie, a situation happens where the French dispatch will have to suspend production.
For the last publication, the paper republishes three important articles written by a trio of reporters. The film from there with an anthology approach, following how each reporter researched and interviewed for the stories.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘The French Dispatch’ is a delightful dramedy”
The 1920s are brought to life in this new Netflix feature, with a black and white look reminiscent of movies from the era.
“Passing” stars Tessa Thompson as Irene, a light-skinned black woman who lives in Harlem with with her husband, an African American doctor (Andre Holland), and two sons. The movie picks up with Irene out and about one day where she runs into a friend from high school.
That friend is Clare (Ruth Negga), who is African American, but because of her light skin and blonde hair, “passes” as white. The film explores the friendship between Clare and Irene, and how it relates to race and class.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Passing’ swings for the fences, but it’s a miss for Netflix”
Diana, Princess of Wales, has been portrayed on screen for decades, in everything from TV movies to the critically acclaimed series “The Crown.”
Perhaps no film has featured a portrayal as intimate and powerful as the one in “Spencer,” though.
Kristen Stewart stars as Princess Diana, who’s joining the rest of the British Royal Family in Norfolk at the Sandringham Estate for the holidays in 1991. The film follows Diana closely, from Christmas Eve through Boxing Day, showcasing her strained relationship with the rest of her family, her struggles with mental health and commitment to be a strong parent for her sons.
Where “Spencer” differs from other biopics about Princess Diana and other films about the royals is the hyper-focus. The movie centers nearly exclusively on Diana, and what she has to go through.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Spencer’ is a master class character study”